balancing act

novel excerpt by Nora Bannon, ’20


I have never, ever wanted to be popular. If you were to describe my life to someone, they would expect me to be one of the cool kids. I’m six feet tall and look like a Barbie doll, which I hate. I live in a huge fancy old house in a rich town, and I play on elite girl’s soccer team. You could say that I have it made.

But I’ve never wanted any of it. Well, I love my soccer team, but that’s it; the rest of it I would kiss goodbye in a heartbeat. I want to live in cozy little house, where you don’t have to shout to find out where your parents are. Maybe if we lived in a house small enough to know what floor everyone was on, Belle would stay home when she was supposed to. There wouldn’t be five doors for her to sneak out of anyway. She might even get around to doing her homework now and again.

I want to be able to walk into the mall without being asked if I’ve considered modeling. Yes, I have. Many times. If they asked if I’ve ever seriously considered modeling, they might get a different answer. But it’s their fault for not asking.

I want to walk down the hall at school this year without towering over 99.95% of the girls in my grade. Yes, I crunched the numbers. There’s one other girl my height, and I’m pretty sure she was held back a couple years.

I know all this is impossible dreaming. I’m not going to shrink, and my genes aren’t going to change. Belle’s never going to be the way she was before; she’s changed too much now. I’m never going to convince my parents to move to a house that’s a sane size for four people. Still, it’s nice to imagine that high school’s going to be different. For a little while anyway. I always come back down to earth pretty quickly, because wishing isn’t going to get me anywhere; only long hard work can do that.

That’s actually what bothers me most about being a privileged rich kid. Whatever I end up doing with the rest of my life isn’t going to be reflection of me to most people. When they hear the kind of family I’m from, I won’t get credit for any of it.

That’s why I didn’t go to the elite private school my parents wanted me to apply to. I’m perfectly happy at public school, living a normal life, and flying under the radar whenever I can. Because under the radar is where I like to be.



Average. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I’m five foot five with a medium light brown ponytail and lots of freckles. I do okay in school, but my report cards don’t exactly go on the fridge. I have a great group of friends, but I’m not one of the in crowd. I live in a nice house in a nice town, but neither one is anything fancy. Basically, I’m not like Jordan.

She’s my best friend, always has been, probably always will be. But sometimes it’s hard always being in her shadow. Not that she likes the attention, or is even fully aware that she’s getting it. When she walks into a room, everyone notices. She the prettiest person I’ve ever seen, and the smartest, and someday she’s going to realize that, and stop hiding.

If she wanted, she could be the coolest kid in school. She just needs to smile at you once, heck even just look you in the eye, and you know that she’s something special, that she’s going places.

Problem is, she doesn’t talk that much. I mean, she talks pleeenty, but mostly to me, and the other people she knows, and in class. She’ll talk in class sometimes.

But if I didn’t know her, I’d probably think she was one of the quietest people ever. You know, bookish, a little nerdy, but sweet, mostly just really shy. The whole nine yards.

I do know her though, probably better than anyone. We met when we were three, at a dance class. That didn’t last long, but we ended up in the same preschool class, and then the same tiny elementary school, so you know. Long story short, we’re still best friends, and we’re about to start high school.

I really couldn’t be more excited. I’m kind of hoping it’ll be different this year. I don’t know, all through Middle School I felt half invisible. That sounds crazy, but before I felt like besides my friends, no one knew who I was, or even wanted to know. This year I kind of want to be on the radar.



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